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[PYCL: Stay with spiritual lessons and above politic frays if you feel led to talk about masks or open the link to my pre-Covid, “Treat or Treatment” Met that's best observed virtually in 2020. (Pycls #1, #2, #5)]

Possible Younger Class Lesson (PYCL) Ideas for Sunday School from
the Christian Science Quarterly Bible Lesson on:

“Are Sin, Disease, and Death Real?”
for October 11, 2020

by Kerry Jenkins, CS, of House Springs, MO • 314-406-0041

Pycl #1: Share how Jesus pointed out the illusion in healing the mentally ill man in Luke 8:22-40.
In my experience it is best to face the question of this week's lesson indirectly. If your class is old enough, it might be interesting to discuss the idea in citation S24/Science and Health p.348:3-13. Here Mary Baker Eddy makes an interesting observation. Make sure the students know what a hallucination or mirage is. One example might be the way water appears to be on the road ahead on a hot day, but is not there. (When a doctor refers to hallucinations, this would not be an accurate example, but for the sake of thinking this through, this should work).

Mary Baker Eddy points out that doctors are willing to treat a patient for a problem which in essence, is nothing, seeing something that is not actually there. Yet, there is discomfort with admitting that maybe disease can fall into this same category of nothingness. To the person hallucinating, it certainly seems real, right? Discuss how Jesus pointed out the illusion of the disease when he healed the mentally ill man in the tombs in citation B13/Luke 8:22 (to:), 26-35, 38-40.

Pycl #2: Maybe make paper masks … as a "Part b" to Pycl #1! [Luke 8:22-40, B13]
Jesus asked the name of the mentally ill man. The man answered with "legion" (a disguise?). Point out what that meant in terms of a Roman legion of about 5,000 soldiers. One thing Mary Baker Eddy tells us is that sin must be uncovered, or identified before it can be destroyed (citations S20/411:13 and S17/447:22-27) from the previous section). What is disguising "mask" does sin "wear"? It might appear in the guise of "this will make me happy/satisfied." "This will be more fun than…". "This will make me more popular". Can you come up with a few of these disguise ["wolf in sheep's clothing"] ideas as a class? If you ["take the bait" and] go around believing these "masquerades" then you will constantly be tempted by the wrong suggestions, and thus led down [false-premise] paths that will make you less happy, less satisfied, less joyful or fun, and more lonely!!!

With your youngest classes you might want to make some paper plate "masks" with ugly faces on them. Explain that these are the masks that error tells us will lead us to something "better". But when we aren't fooled by them (when we take off that mask!) underneath, we find our true selfhood which knows that loving our neighbor, speaking kind words, not gossip, having pure, good, constructive fun, all lead us to our real self.

If your students are a little older, you can discuss how we are sometimes easily fooled by the masquerading suggestions. (Just a personal opinion, but I don't think it helps to warn against things like drugs and alcohol. I would stick to character ideas such as the temptation to be less than charitable toward friends, etc. (Usually pointing out moral stumbling blocks from the adult point of view appears to be out of touch, unless the students bring it up with honest questioning.)

Why does knowing the "identity" or "name" of the man in this story, give Jesus "authority over the illness"? (citation S20/411:13 again) How does this work when we are trying to overcome a sense of separation from good/sin, in our own experience? Once we find out that the "sin", its identity, is a lie, it is easier to separate that lie from our sense of "self". Then, we can see our own oneness with God or goodness, more easily! Can you share an example from your own or another's experience that illustrates this recognition of our truest self?

Pycl #3: Share your gratitude and joy for what you have experienced of God's goodness.
Not to dwell too long on this one story, but look at verses 38-40 where this man goes and announces to everyone what happened to him, how he was healed, shared his great relief and joy at the mental peace and balance he has. How are we publishing our own gratitude and joy for what we have experienced of God's goodness?

What are some ways we can share our gratitude that feel right and comfortable to us? Can we express an open sense of enthusiasm when someone helps us out? Can we tell someone that we genuinely appreciate the effort they are going to…prepare a class, a meal, an outing…? Think together of some great examples of how we can "up our game" in spreading our gratitude, etc.

Pycl #4: Make the point that what comes from God can only be good!
In the story of the "tares and wheat" in Section 2, you can bring a bag, or have each child grab a bag of some kind, could just be a plastic grocery bag. Have a few items you can put inside, and have them gather a few things. It doesn't need to be anything specific. Lay these items out in front of your screen or on your table, if you are in person.

After sharing the story in citation B8/Matt. 13:28, you can discuss together the idea that God could only make man in His own likeness, out of that which He himself is made. Just as we have often referred back to the idea that the sun can only make light and heat, it cannot produce darkness or cold, God can only make that which reflects Goodness. Now, put each item in your bag (showing them openly, each item). Ask them what they expect will come out of the bag when you reach in? Hopefully they will understand that only those items you put in, will come out, it is not meant to be a guessing game!!
In the same way we can expect that this is how we are made, from good "ingredients" if you will, only what God is can be reflected in His creation, man. Look at citation S6/ SH p.343:14 for some other ways to share this.

Pycl #5: What are “tares” today that masquerade as good, but are really harmful to “feed” on?
I really love how the story of the tares and wheat illustrates the human tendency to ask "where did evil come from?" What does the farmer tell the workers in answer to this question? [citation B8/Matt 13:28] Who is the "enemy"? How does the farmer tell them to "get rid" of the tares? Why do they have to wait until the two plants are mature before pulling them up?

With the younger classes you may enjoy showing them some pictures of these two plants so they can see how they are only easily discerned one from the other at harvest time. [Look in the upper right of CedarS webpage for a picture of Wheat and Tares to Download, print and share.] Also, just an interesting side fact, it was actually illegal to sow "tares" in someone's field because they could be poisonous when mixed with the good grain. This was an actual law that is found in ancient texts!

Can you and your class think of what these "tares" might represent in our daily lives now? How do we "discern" them from the good that is growing in our experience? Maybe one way to think of a tare vs. a wheat thought is that "tares" will present themselves as something good, they will claim the false premise that they are "normal", "natural", "everyone else is doing this," and so on. God's thoughts that come to us never have a "justification", we just know they are good and right. We are tempted, however, to ignore them sometimes!!

Pycl #6: Encourage memorizing a GEM to focus thought on what is genuinely important.
This is just a favorite memorization piece that I can't help including: citation S29/SH p.4:3-5 "What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds." I just love how that focuses thought on what is genuinely important, so that healing of "sin, disease, and death", can gradually disappear to our rising spiritual consciousness.

Have a wonderful time this week in Sunday School.

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